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Health and infrastructure get one of the biggest allocations in percentage terms. The defence sector too gets the much-needed attention in the wake of the India-China standoff in eastern Ladakh



In her third Union Budget, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman pushed for a massive spending spree on infrastructure creation, healthcare, and demand generation to revive India’s pandemic-battered economy.

In the speech that lasted for around 1 hour and 45 minutes, Sitharaman doled out enormous amounts for infrastructure, healthcare, education as well as the agriculture sector. Two of the biggest winners in the Budget, however, were healthcare and infrastructure as both got one of the biggest allocations in percentage terms.

The allocation for the defence sector was also comparatively higher in the wake of the India-China standoff at the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh. A host of announcements were also made on the government’s disinvestment strategy for the upcoming fiscal year starting 1 April 2021. It is also worth mentioning that no major tax changes were announced in the Budget.

For healthcare, a new Centrally-sponsored scheme, PM Aatmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana, will be launched with an outlay of about Rs 64,180 crores over 6 years. According to Sitharaman, this will be used to develop capacities of primary, secondary, and tertiary care health systems, strengthen existing national institutions, and create new institutions, to cater to detection and cure of new and emerging diseases. This will be in addition to the National Health Mission. The total healthcare allocation in budget 2021 is Rs 2.23 lakh crore, which is a 135 per cent hike over the previous budget.

Infrastructure was expected to get a massive fillip in Budget 2021, and the Finance Minister announced a slew of measures, including setting up of a Development Finance Institution (DFI), allowing large-scale asset monetisation, and allocating the highest-ever capital expenditure of Rs 1.08 lakh crore for building highways. The total allocation for the highways sector is Rs 1.18 lakh crore, up 28 per cent from Rs 91,823 crore in 2020-21.

Road projects in four poll-bound states of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have been allocated Rs 1.93 lakh crore separately under the Bharatmala project. The infrastructure sector has been pushed by the growing realisation that India’s post-pandemic economic recovery will be led by spending on India’s infrastructure sector.

Stressing on the need to focus on local manufacturing for India’s $5 trillion economy dream, Sitharaman said that the government had already announced a production-linked incentive scheme (PLI) for 13 sectors. “For this, the government has committed nearly Rs 1.97 lakh crore, over 5 years starting FY 2021-22. This initiative will help bring scale and size in key sectors, create and nurture global champions and provide jobs to our youth,” said Sitharaman.

The Budget 2021 also focused on the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP), which was announced last year. Since it will require a major increase in funding both from the government and the financial sector, the finance minister has proposed to take three concrete steps to boost the NIP. Firstly, through institutional structures; secondly, by a big thrust on monetizing assets, and thirdly by enhancing the share of capital expenditure in central and state budgets.

Also, the minister proposed to institute a ‘Land Bank’ monetisation company along with an asset management and reconstruction company or a ‘Bad Bank’ and a Development Financial Institution (DFI) which will fund infra projects.

Besides, she proposed to relax certain conditions which prohibited private funding, restriction on commercial activities, and direct investment in infrastructure to attract foreign sovereign wealth and pension funds to invest in domestic infra projects.

She laid out a new import structure along with proposals for a conducive environment to usher in investments into Fintech, insurance and start-ups. Further, Sitharaman proposed to give relief to those Non-Resident Indians who have returned to India but face hardship of double taxation.

The minister set aside Rs 20,000 crore for public sector bank re-capitalisation and gave a push to digital payments and research in Artificial Intelligence.

She also announced a vehicle scrappage policy, hydrogen energy mission and rationalisation of customs duty structure by eliminating outdated exemptions.

On the personal tax front, exemption was proposed from filing income tax returns for senior citizens with age of 75 year and above, and who only have pension and interest income.

In terms of shoring up the Centre’s revenues, Sitharaman proposed an asset monetisation pipeline. She set a massive divestment target of Rs 1.75 lakh crore. In FY22, the Centre plans to divest two public sector banks, as well as a state-owned general insurance company.

Even the IPO route will be considered for LIC to augment falling revenues. Sale of certain projects such as city gas pipelines, roads and ports are expected to give some relief to the Centre. But here as well, the fine print suggests hiving off these assets after their completion.

An Agriculture Infrastructure and Development Cess on excise and customs duties will kick-in to augment the Centre’s coffers. Consequently, the fiscal deficit for next year is set at 6.8 per cent from 9.5 per cent for FY21, out of which the Centre plans to borrow Rs 80,000 crore by the end of the current fiscal.

Sitharaman proposed to amend the FRBM Act to institute more elasticity and return to a fiscal deficit level below 4.5 per cent of GDP by 2025-2026. The FRBM Act mandates a fiscal deficit of 3 per cent of GDP that needs to be achieved by March 31, 2020-2021.

The allocation for defence was also higher by over 7 per cent in Union Budget 2021-22 as India has been locked in a prolonged conflict with China in eastern Ladakh. Sitharaman allocated Rs 3.62 lakh crore, excluding pensions, for defence expenditure—up by 7.4 per cent from last year. The total outlay for the Defence Ministry in Budget 2021 is pegged at Rs 4,78,195.62 crore, with pension liabilities down by Rs 18,000 crore from the present fiscal.

The outlay for weapons and modernisation has been increased from Rs 1,13,734 lakh crore last year to Rs 1,35,060 crore for 2021-22 — a rise of 18 per cent. The increased budget for modernisation will help the armed forces equip themselves with new weapon systems and spares.

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Shweta Shalini



When developing the Ekatma Manav Darshan, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Ji proposed an integrated approach to the problems of mankind. In many ways, the philosophy proposed by Pandit Ji which Jan Sangh adopted as it’s official doctrine is the first of its kind indigenous model. In 1951 when Shyama Prasad Mukherjee founded the Jan Sangh, the world was aggressively split into competing models of development namely Capitalism where individualism reigned supreme and Communism where the ruling order exerted complete control over the collective. In this world order which saw cold war for next few decades, Pandit Deendayal Ji showed courage by opposing western capitalist individualism and Marxist socialism even while welcoming western science. Humankind according to Upadhyay had four heirarchial attributes of body, mind, intellect and soul which corresponded to four universal objectives. By rejecting social systems where individuals reigned supreme or got crushed, he pointed out that problem of western ideologies is that they consider only materialist objectives of desire and wealth. Even after India became independent, the attempt at decolonization of Indian political thought was a major contribution by Pandit Deendayal Ji which the current Modi Government is continuing under it’s rule.

Ever Since the Modi Government came into power in 2014, the focus of the administration has always been on ‘”Antyodaya” i.e the rise of the last person. Western societies measuring their economic might aided by capitalism often paint a rosy picture of themselves due to the focus on top of the pyramid. GDP is growing because the number of HNIs and new billionaires are rising they claim. While the average wealth surely does rise, it doesn’t take into account the inequity such a system fosters. By tilting the pyramid upside down and claiming that upliftment of those who are at the bottom of economic pyramid is the aim of the BJP, PM Modi is living upto the visions of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay. We aim at the progress and happiness of “Man”, the Integral Man. The protagonists of the two systems fight with ‘Man’ on the state. Both of them do not understand man, nor do they care for his interests,” Upadhyay Ji had said in a speech in 1965. Unless extreme poverty isn’t reduced, an integrated development of the nation as a whole would be impossible.

The welfare schemes introduced by PM Modi lays bare his emphasis on Antyodaya. The Ujjwala Yojana of the Modi Government was completed ahead of deadline in 2019 when eight crore beneficiaries who didn’t have gas connection received free LPG connection. The second version of the scheme targeted at one crore beneficiaries is expected to translate into full LPG penetration in the country. With a scheme which targets women at the bottom of the pyramid, PM Modi is fulfilling the Antyodaya vision. The other vulnerable category namely the elderly has been immensely benefitted by Atal Pension Yojana. In a country like India with a huge number of people employed in unorganised sector, a scheme which offers monthly pension of Rs.1000 to Rs.5000 to any person after 60 years of age clearly points to the priorities of the Modi Government. The Prime Minister Aawas Yojana is another such scheme which helps those who struggle to buy a home. The ambitious scheme has been given a fresh target of delivering about 2.67 crore houses by the end of 2022, 1.53 crore houses (60%) have been completed so far and another 48 lakh have been sanctioned and are in various stages of construction. The government is aiming to complete 2.01 crore houses hence by March 2022 and the rest of the target (65 lakh houses) by the end of 2022. 

Narendra Modi Ji himself made his target of Antyodaya clearn when he stated from the rampart of the Red Fort on August 15, 2021 that “The biggest advantage of this 100 percent accomplishment rate is that no one remains deprived of the benefits of the government scheme. When the government operates with a target to reach the person in the last line, only then there is no discrimination and there is no scope for corruption,”.

The vision of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Ji was well ahead of his times as the world is realizing now. When the philosophy was first propounded, the world was divided between Capitalism and Communism. In the decades that followed, the hollowness of Communism led to the collapse of Soviet Union while the excesses of Capitalism is leading to unrest in Western societies with great economic inequities. Pandit Ji’s integrated approach has stood the nation in good stead and PM Modi Ji has taken it on a mission mode to realise the vision. Victor Hugo rightly said that “No army can stop an idea whose time has come”.

About the Author:

Shweta Shalini is BJP Spokesperson and Advisor to former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri Devendra Fadnavis. She is also the State in-charge of BJP North Indian Cell.

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VIT-AP University conducted a virtual Convocation for the class of 2021 on 23 September 2021. Nobel Laureate Dr M Stanley Whittingham of Binghamton University (SUNY), USA was the Chief Guest for the ceremony and delivered the Convocation Address. He had incidentally been awarded the coveted award in 2019 for the development of lithium-ion batteries. Whittingham also inaugurated the Mahatma Gandhi Block, Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy Block, Savithri Bhai Phule Block, Rock plaza (Student Activity Center).

Dr G. Viswanathan, Founder and Chancellor of VIT, presided over the convocation ceremony along with faculty and staff in attendance.

Out of 460 students, the University presented 10 gold medalists, two PhDs and rank holders from Bachelor, Master, and PhD. Degrees in Engineering and BBA. (BBA-27, M.Tech VLSI-6 , B.Tech (Mechanical)-67, B.Tech (ECE)-120, B.Tech (CSE)-238 Ph.D-2) were presented.

The virtual convocation followed all the ceremonial aspects of the regular Convocation with a welcome address by the Vice-Chancellor, conferment of degrees by the Chancellor, Chancellor’s address followed by the convocation address by the Chief Guest.

Dr G. Viswanathan, Founder and Chancellor, VIT, while congratulating the alumni and the graduating students along with their families on the Convocation 2021 of VIT-AP University, said, “Graduations and commencement ceremonies mark major transitional golden moments in a student’s life. They celebrate all the hard work you put into your education and achievements and make you look forward to the future with much hope. As we reflect on the past year and unprecedented challenges brought on by Covid-19, we also celebrate all that we accomplished by working together, supporting one another, and keeping each other safe,” he said.

“Great day for all of you on this convocation day. It is the first step to the next part of your life experience. Travel the world, take advantage of every opportunity, take risks, always connect with your mentors. Grab the opportunity, have dreams, be patient, research will take time. Maybe one of you will have my experience this is what you can anticipate,” said Dr Whittingham while congratulating the graduates.

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A few days back, Chandigarh Adviser to the Administrator Dharam Pal claimed that they have got all permissions from the Ministry of Environment, Forest Wildlife and Climate Change to function a walkthrough Aviary of Birds. Whereas the reality is far different than what the Ministry had said in its recent letter to the Chief Wildlife Warden dated 14 September 2021. Rather Department of Environment Forest and Wildlife is in a fix as they had flouted Wildlife Protection Act while buying an Indian Mandarin Duck, which is a prohibited species under the act. Central Zoo Authority had asked them to remove the species. 

MOEFCC did not mention and given any permission for the Bird Aviary. Rather in its letter, Sunil Sharma, Assistant Inspector General of Forest (WL), wrote to the Chief Wildlife Warden, “A Field Appraisal Committee from Central Zoo Authority had carried out an inspection of the proposed Aviary in Chandigarh and submitted its report to the Chief Wild Life Warden. Chandigarh. The Committee, in its report, besides other recommendations, has also indicated that all species except Mandarin Duck, are non-native and does not come under the purview of the definition of “captive animals” as per Section 2 (5) of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 and that Mandarin Duck be removed from the collection, as the species is covered under Schedule IV of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The report also indicates that given the proposed collection, the said facility does not come under the definition of Zoo as per Section 2 (39) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. In this regard, the undersigned is directed to request for needful action as per recommendations made in the report of the Field Appraisal Committee of Central Zoo Authority and to ensure that there is no violation of any Act/Rule in this regard.” 

While talking to The Daily Guardian, Adviser Dharam Pal stated, “As told to me by Department IFS Officer, CZA asked us to remove the said species, it was prohibited after we bought it. We do not need any more permissions now from anyone to function it ahead. Rest legalities, in this case, are better in the knowledge of the department’s officer.” 

As per a retired IFS of Arunachal Pradesh, “Mandarin Duck has been found in India. That is why it is an Indian bird, which is completely prohibited to buy or sell under the Wildlife Protection Act and the provision of punishment has also been kept for the violator. An IFS officer is not aware of this, it is a matter of great surprise. Till 2013, it was visible several times in states like Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur but in 2014 it was visible in Assam after 112 years.”These questions are still standing tall-

No forest diversion was done before the construction of the Aviary. 

A walkthrough Bird Aviary is a forest area which is shown and mentioned in the official map of Chandigarh that it is an unclassified forest. Chandigarh Forest and Wildlife department has developed Nagar Van Udyan under the Ministry of Forest and Wildlife scheme and crores of rupees were spent. Now, this is a pertinent question that why did the said department not seek forest diversion before constructing the said Aviary? It is mentioned in the department’s papers that it is eco-tourism project, and as per MOEFCC, eco-tourism is non-forest activity for which forest diversion is imperative before aviary construction.  

The place where Bird Aviary is constructed is the catchment area of Sukhna on which Punjab and Haryana High Court had already prohibited any sort of construction and matter is subjudice. Even then the department had constructed the Aviary? 

Chandigarh Forest and Wildlife Department had violated the wildlife protection act and bought Mandarin Duck which is prohibited under the Act, in this way why MOEFCC didn’t take action on Officer?

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CM Jai Ram Thakur.

Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Commerce and Industries Piyush Goyal has appreciated the achievements of the Himachal Pradesh Government in becoming the first state of the country in providing 100% first dose of Covid-19 vaccination to the eligible age groups besides ensuring food safety to the targeted groups. He was addressing Sewa Aur Samarpan Abhiyan at Totu-Jutogh in Shimla here on Friday.

The Union Minister said that the state government has made tremendous progress in all spheres of development during the last fifty years after attaining the status of statehood. He said that the State had not only emerged as a role model for hill States of the country but also shown the path for other big states.

While congratulating the CM and people of the state on the golden jubilee year of statehood, Goyal said that the State during about four years has achieved various milestones under the able leadership of CM Jai Ram Thakur. He said that the Nation was fortunate that it was being headed by strong and dynamic leadership in form of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said that during the last 20 years as CM of Gujarat and thereafter Prime Minister of the country Narendra Modi has worked tirelessly and relentlessly without taking even one daybreak.

CM Thakur while welcoming the Union Minister said that the Sewa Aur Samarpan Abhiyan was being launched in the country to celebrate two decades of Prime Minister in public services. The birthday of the Prime Minister on 17 September was celebrated as Sewa Divas and various welfare activities were being organised to mark the occasion. The CM said that the Union Government has provided wholehearted support and cooperation to the state government to effectively tackle the Covid-19 pandemic in the state.

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Debabrata elected chairman of Audit Bureau of Circulations



United Breweries Limited, Chief Marketing Officer Debabrata Mukherjee (Debu) has been unanimously elected as the Chairman of the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) for the year 2021-2022.

Debabrata is currently working as CMO at UB Group. In his current role, he is responsible for managing a diverse set of local and global brands such as Kingfisher, Ultra, Heineken, and Amstel. He has an experience of more than 27 years in this field.

Debabrata started his career with Unilever India and after working for four years, he was appointed as the Franchise Manager of Coca-Cola, Mumbai in 1998. He has played a major role in growing Coca-Cola Company’s operations in India, Korea and South-West Asia. He left the services of the Coca-Cola Company in April 2018 as the VP of SA Operations to join the Hindustan Times Group. He then joined the United Breweries group in 2019. He has been part of the Audit Bureau of Circulation, Management Council since 2011 and has served as the Chairman of the Council. He has also served as a jury member for several Industry Leadership Awards.

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Goods and Service Tax (GST) was introduced in 2017 and since then it is expected that the central government would bring fuel under GST which would be relieving for consumers reeling under high fuel prices. Addressing a press conference here on Friday, Nirmala Sitharaman said that the government is planning to bring the fuel under GST and a couple of rounds of meetings have taken place between Centre and state. After the consent on part of both rates would be fixed. Although, the Central government is mulling over a strategy for the same. It is worth mentioning that not bringing fuel under GST would put additional financial pressure on consumers. Thus, the demand of bringing the fuel under the above will be relieving for consumers to some extent. 

 Further, she said that the GST council will have to take the decision pertaining to the fixation of the rate. While reacting to questions regarding the fiscal health of Haryana, Sitharaman said that even with the corona epidemic, the state performed well and no borrowing was made by the state. Besides, the state government refrained from using additional sources which is worth praise. She personally asked CM Manohar Lal whether the state required any financial assistance but he denied it.

 The Central government is trying its best to give benefits of all schemes starter during its regime. Likewise, the Mudra scheme was launched for the betterment of deprived people of the society including Schedule Cast (ST) and Schedule Tribe (ST) along with women as they are being given loans without bank guarantee to start a business. 

While giving an answer regarding a question over demonetisation, she said that it has played a vital role in controlling fake currency which used to emerge as a huge problem. Besides it also led to tightening the noose against terrorism which is a matter of serious concern. These steps are the economic reforms required to make the commoners economically and to some extent, such reforms proved their mettle. Besides, the government continues to put its best towards the ease of doing business.

During the corona pandemic, digitalisation witnessed a spike at a large scale which is a better sign. Fewer sources most likely result in a shortage of liquidity.

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